Big Picture Science

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The world has changed since enterprising hominids chipped stones to use as tools. Today’s scientific and technological development moves faster than a speeding maglev train.
If you’re curious about where innovation is headed and delight in the wonders of scientific discovery, tune your ears to Big Picture Science. Science radio doesn’t have to be dull. The only dry thing about our program is the humor.

In one hour, Big Picture Science connects ideas about the origins, the behavior, and the future of life – and technology – on Earth in surprising and playful ways.
What came before the Big Bang? How does memory work? Will our descendants be human or machine? What’s the origin of humor? We ponder these questions daily… and expound on them weekly.

But wait! There’s more!
Are you a doubting Thomas? Good. Join us as we separate science from pseudoscience – and facts from the phony – in Skeptic Check, our monthly episode devoted to critical thinking.
Whether it’s astrology, Bigfoot, or just the incessant onslaught of dubious medical claims, we take it all on, wielding the skeptical tools of solid science.
It’s Skeptic Check… but don’t take our word for it… !

History of Big Picture Science

Big Picture Science is a one-hour science program produced at the SETI Institute’s radio studio in Mountain View, California. We broadcast and podcast every week.

But it wasn’t always so! The program began with the title Are We Alone? in 2002 as a commercially-supported call-in show distributed to a handful of stations on Radio America by Bill Oxley and Seth Shostak, who actually broadcast from their respective living rooms in San Diego and Mountain View. In 2004, Molly Bentley joined AWA as an editor and executive producer, and about that time, support from the NASA Astrobiology Institute allowed us to build our own radio studio and move away from single interview call-ins, to a thematic multi-interview produced show.

Barbara Vance joined AWA at that time and has kept us organized and hitting program deadlines ever since. Bill left the show in 2005 to pursue other interests and Gary Niederhoff joined us with his considerable voice talent and editing skills. Then Jay Weiler showed up.

After a short stint on the Discovery Channel’s outlet on Sirius Satellite Radio, we began distributing Are We Alone? on the Public Radio Satellite System (PRSS) and the Public Radio Exchange (PRX)

Big Picture Science can be found on iTunes and other podcast sites. Radio stations carrying the program are listed on our “Listening” page.

The show is available to radio stations for broadcast from PRSS, PRX and Pacifica Network.

If you are a station that would like to broadcast Big Picture Science, or would like more information about the program, email us at, or call Barbara Vance at 650-960-4531.

Big Picture Science is supported in part by Sami David, Rena Shulsky David, and the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Skeptic Check is presented thanks to a generous donation from the Trimberger Family Foundation.